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Counterfeits - how do I prevent or stop copying?

By John Rule.

Everyone is a victim where copying is concerned. Counterfeits are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but there are things you can do to make it more difficult for the unauthorised user of your intellectual property.

  1. Create a dated paper trail – sign and date all sketches, drawings, compositions and keep them somewhere safe – even keep doodles and notes from meetings.
  2. Register your designs, trade marks or patents.
  3. Review all your existing IP to ensure that everything which is registrable and important to your business has been protected.
  4. DO IT NOW – don’t wait until someone has copied you and you need to take action – it is much quicker and easier to call upon your organised records than having to find bits and pieces filed (or not!) all over the place.
  5. Put a watching service in place – keep an eye on the relevant registers of trade marks, patents or designs and also keep a close eye on your own market, especially at trade shows.
  6. Pay your renewal fees on time.
  7. Keep the ownership details of your IP up to date with the relevant bodies – if you move or change your name – tell them, don’t wait until you need to use your IP against someone.
  8. Ensure that non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements are in place before involving potential business partners, suppliers or consultants in the planning, designing or production stages of a new product or service.
  9. Ensure that your security is adequate – stolen samples can be used as templates for production of infringing products.
  10. Ensure that your insurance provides adequate cover in terms of theft and of taking legal action in IP matters.

The dangers of counterfeits

Everyone is a victim where a counterfeit is involved – the customer is affected because the quality of the counterfeit product is unlikely to be as good or as safe as the genuine article. The loss of sales of genuine goods will threaten the legitimate business and may cost jobs as a result of a decrease in revenue. Brand confidence will suffer and further sales are likely to be lost when reports of bad experiences are broadcast.

However, it is not always possible to judge whether an item is counterfeit, just from its cost – counterfeiters have narrowed the price gap to avoid detection and only sell their products for a little less than the original!

For more information about protecting your business call us now on 01788547 389.

This news item may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not contain legal advice.